The Blackhawks will get a jump on 2019 by suiting up New Year’s day at noon for the NHL’s Winter Classic. They’ll face the Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana.
“You have this game marked on your calender for a while and it’s one that you want to win. I think there’s added pressure given that fact that we don’t have the best track record in the Winter Classic so we know it’s a big game,” says Blackhawks’ captain Jonathan Toews.
Blackhawks’ forward Patrick Kane is also inspired by the tradition surrounding Notre Dame. “You know you watch that movie ‘Rudy’ growing up all the time it’s like pretty amazing you’re going to be playing hockey out there and you’re actually going to be performing out there,” said Kane.
“I never thought I’d see a hockey rink in the middle of Notre Dame Stadium, but I’m the biggest fan from afar. It’s a lot of fun,” said Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman.
“It does bring a little extra energy when you have some guys that haven’t been in this situation before and it’ll be fun for me to come out there and for the players it’ll be an even another level,” says Blackhawks’ head coach Jeremy Colliton.
The Bruins are also looking forward to the experience.
“For me personally I’m taking it as, I was there once as a fan and now to be able to play in it and try to take full advantage of the opportunity,” said forward Jake Debrusk.
“I think back about my first Winter Classic at Fenway you get overwhelmed a little bit,” says Bruins captain Zdano Chara. “You have to control the emotions and really focus on what we have to do on the ice.”
“I think we’re the first non-football event to play here so that’s an honor as well,” says Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “It’s the Winter Classic. Guys want to go out and put their best foot forward.”